Katie and Jared are married! Their Richmond wedding was absolutely amazing!Read More
Maybe you're just starting to plan your wedding, or maybe you're just one month away. You follow the Pinterest monthly wedding planning checklist, or your "The Knot" calendar. You're organized, Type A, and you've thought of every little detail. Well, you think, at least.
Here's the problem with those checklists... they cover the big stuff, the typical planning stuff, the before the wedding stuff. Brides tend to think about and plan for every detail leading up to the wedding, but they don't think about what happens afterwards. This can cause confusion among your vendors, and worse, if you don't have a coordinator that knows these forgotten details, your vendors will interrupt you during your reception!!
These are the tough, nitty gritty details. The questions we ask our brides that result in, "Hmm, I didn't even think of that." So here we go, our top 5 things that every bride forgets...cue the confused and blank stares!
1. Where Do The Centerpieces Go After The Reception?
This is the number one thing brides always forget. Most of the time, the vases you use for your centerpieces are rentals from the florist. The flowers are yours to keep and send home with guests, but the vases need to be returned. If they aren't, you could end up being charged - and if they are left behind at the venue, the venue could charge you too. The florist drops off the flowers and leaves, so, what do you do?
To start, you need to bring up the issue with your florist - ask, what happens to the centerpiece vases after the reception? Sometimes they are willing to come pick the vases up the day after your event (if the venue is ok with this), or they offer to come back at the end of the night to pick them up. Your florist may also require you (or someone you designate) to take the vases home and then schedule a time to drop them off.
So if you can't keep the vases, what happens to the flowers?? Here's what we recommend. Ask your florist if they can provide you with plastic, disposable vases to transfer the flowers into. These usually just cost $2 each - super cheap. Your coordinator can transfer the flowers into the plastic vases 30 min before the end of the reception so guests can take them home, and then collect the rental vases for safe keeping :)
2. What Happens to Your Decor?
This goes along with the same thought process of the vases. You have your guestbook, Mr. & Mrs. chair signs, candles, lanterns, easels, bar menus, table numbers - even the top tier of your wedding cake!... the list goes on and on. This stuff can't be left at the venue - so where does it go at the end of the night? Your planner or coordinator will be responsible for packing all of these things up, but you'll need to have someone designated to take all of your packed up decor home. And most importantly, that person needs to know that they have that responsibility before they run away to the after party :) We always ask our brides to designate a family member or someone in their bridal party to be responsible for this and then we make sure to meet that person at the rehearsal to let them know they will be getting decor at the end of the night.
3. The Bridal Suite Stuff...
Your bridesmaids have had 1 too many signature drinks and guests are lining up for your grand exit when suddenly it hits you that literally ALL of your stuff (and all of your bridesmaids' stuff) is in a huge mess up in the bridal suite and you have no clue who's packing it up and taking it home. Oh yes, this happens all the time. Before the ceremony, you were drinking mimosas, rushing to get ready, get your dress on, and take portraits! The bridal suite is left a mess and nothing is packed up to go home. If your reception is at a hotel where you are staying the night, this may not be a big problem, but if you're not staying at the venue after the reception and you're going to be on a plane to the honeymoon first thing the next day - this is a huge problem!!!
Before wedding day, designate a bridesmaid who is going to be responsible for packing things up and keeping things organized. Really, each person should be responsible for their own things and this issue isn't too hard as long as your make sure you build some extra time into your timeline to make sure these things get to where they are supposed to be. It's not hard - it's just something no one ever thinks about until the last second when they are leaving the reception and wonder... oh wait where's my purse.
4. Where Do Cards and Gifts Go?
You have a cute card box set up on your cards and gifts table, but did you think about where it's going after the reception? In the same way you have someone designated to take home decor, you should also have someone responsible for taking the cards and gifts to a safe place. However, these should be collected earlier in the night. Everyone has placed their card or gift within the first hour of the reception - you don't want cards with tons of money sitting around a big crowd of drunk people. Make sure you have a family member collect these and lock them in their car or hotel room earlier on :)
5. How Are You Delivering Final Payments?
Some vendors write in their contracts that final payments are due on the actual day of the wedding. This is a pain because thinking about payments while you're getting ready on wedding day is the last thing you want to think about. We highly recommend that you ask all your vendors if you can make your final payments prior to the wedding day. This way, you don't have to worry about it at all the day of! However, if this isn't possible or you'd rather wait until wedding day, make sure you have your final payments organized. Put them in individual envelopes with the vendor name on the outside so nothing gets confused. If you have a coordinator, they can take these envelopes and distribute them to your vendors. Also, if you are tipping your vendors, this is a great way to organize that as well.
Whew! Are you overwhelmed?? These are the types of things that will make you so glad you hired a planner or coordinator. They can ask you the tough questions like these because they know what often gets forgotten, and they can take care of a lot of these issues for you as long as you chat about these things ahead of time. No bride wants to think about the END of the reception - we never want wedding day to be over!! But thinking about these details and laying out a plan for them ahead of time will allow you to enjoy your reception without any confusion going on :)
Lauren and Alyssa
While planning the launch of Ginger & Blooms all the way back in March, we knew that we wanted to build up the eventual launch day somehow without giving away the fact that we were partnering under a new brand. Lauren had already booked a branding photo session with Andrea Pesce, and decided that hinting at an "office launch" would be a great way to build up excitement over the launch date without giving away our big secret! Needless to say, the "office launch" never happened because that wasn't the big secret after all (are we sneaky or what??), but today we finally get to share it with you!!! We have SO many gorgeous branding photos, office photos, and headshots that turned out to be such a huge asset to our new brand. We are so excited to share some of the images here today so you can get a peek inside our Ginger & Blooms space!! Welcome to the G&B office!!
All images by Andrea Pesce
We are beyond obsessed with that Anthropologie wallpaper! AND the "G&B"!! Anthro = major office decor win. Seriously.
Also - see those tulips?? Prior to this office shoot, Andrea shot us putting together some floral arrangements. It was quite comical because Lauren did this gorgeous, complicated, large arrangement, and Alyssa... well, she stuck to cutting stems and making tiny vase/single stem pieces. She would like to point out that she is capable of putting single stem flowers in a vase. And she's very proud of it.
Anddd now we see the real floral talent ;) Gah look at Lauren's fluffy arrangement of G&B blooms!! And those amazing rose gold chairs are from Stash Rentals!!
SO obsessed with the gorgeous natural light in this room - and Andrea captured it so perfectly!
This frame holds a lovely brush calligraphy piece by Simply Jessica Marie - Lauren had this hanging in her home, but it was just the perfect shade of navy - we had to include it in the office!
By the way, Lauren's husband Craig was totallyyyy hanging this gallery wall for us like 15 minutes before Andrea arrived - he was such a champ.
Matching Anthro mugs, of course.
Yes, even our trash can is rose gold. #priorities.
Andrea also did some incredible styled flats for us too! This is one of our favorites, but there are SO many more that we can't wait to use in all aspects of our business!!!
This was us designing blooms before the shoot... notice the lack of blooms on Alyssa's side :) Don't worry, Lauren is teaching her well :)
Do you love it as much as we do?!?!?! Having office and branding images done for your business is such a huge benefit because they can be used in so many ways. As soon as we received our gallery from Andrea, it was like it pulled every aspect of our brand together and it made an amazing impact on our final website. Andrea Pesce is totally your girl if you're looking to get branding images! We are so thankful for her!!! We have so so so many more images, but we have to save some ;)
Meet you here next Monday for our first bridal tips post on the G&B journal!
Lauren and Alyssa
SURPRISE!!! And welcome to Ginger & Blooms!! A brand new wedding planning and floral design studio founded by fellow gingers and wedding lovers, Lauren & Alyssa! Some of you may know Lauren from So Lovely Weddings & Blooms, or Alyssa from Lovely & Bubbly Events, or both of us, or even neither of us, but whether we've gotten the pleasure to know you yet or not, we are SO happy you're here! We've been keeping this HUGE secret of combining our businesses into one for what seems like forever, and we are just so excited to finally be able to share the news!!
So how exactly did this happen??
It was actually a really natural fit for both of us. After her first year in business, Alyssa had been wanting to expand and rebrand in some way, but wasn't exactly sure what the next step was. Meanwhile, Lauren had already started working on her rebrand after a business coaching session with Katelyn James. We had already worked together a bunch in the last year. After meeting at Lauren's workshop, The Floral Gathering, we started working together a ton! Styled shoots, and even Alyssa's very first wedding! Our styles fit so perfectly together, and Alyssa was completely obsessed with the So Lovely blooms :)
Randomly one night in March, Lauren texted Alyssa saying, "Ok I just sent you an email and I feel like I'm proposing to you..." Confused, Alyssa immediately checked her email and literally started crying at the computer screen. Lauren was starting a new business called Ginger & Blooms and she wanted us to partner together!! What?!?!?!
Fast forward through a long pizza date night chatting logistics, soooo many emails and texts, and lots of happy hugging and crying, it was a done deal - Ginger & Blooms was HAPPENING!!!
We brought on the fabulous Jess Creates to design our [anthropologie inspired!!!] brand, Meg Summerfield to build our custom Squarespace site, and Andrea Pesce to take our new branding pictures and headshots. Gosh could we have asked for a better team?!? All of these ladies were beyond fabulous and we can't thank them enough for their help in bringing this new partnership and business to life!! It's more than we could have ever imagined!!
Partnering together seriously couldn't be anymore natural for us. We truly believe blooms bring wedding design to LIFE and bringing wedding design/planning together with floral design allows us to expand our creativity and build a business that will serve our brides well. Our mission is to give our G&B brides the most cohesive wedding design experience possible. We know that florals are the heart of your wedding design, and we know that by combining our skills in wedding planning/design and florals, we can develop a cohesive event tailored perfectly to our couples :)
Thank you SO much for stopping by to visit and celebrating in our launch!! We cannot wait to see what the future holds for this new partnership and we look forward to working with all our current and new vendor friends under our new name! Be sure to continue to come back to the blog to check in! We will be posting new content here each Monday and we've already brought some of our favorite posts from our old blogs over to the new site :)
Oh and how could we forget! We have TONS of fun giveaways happening this week to celebrate this new adventure!! Be sure to follow along @gingerandblooms on instagram to get in on all the fun! Eeeek!!!! We love you guys!!!!
Lauren and Alyssa
Bridal accessories are expensive. Well, let's back up, weddings are expensive. Period. I know the feeling... You're obsessing over Kate Spade's bridal collection, but your brain is telling you that you can't possibly afford the adorable "Mr. and Mrs." clutch for your wedding day because you're already splurging on your flowers. The struggle is REAL. Well, today I'm here to help by introducing you to my favorite bridal accessory secret that will allow you to get high end bridal accessories without breaking the bank.
RENT THE RUNWAY
Yes. Rent the Runway is my big secret. Have you heard of it?? I discovered this site through a friend while I was planning my wedding (thanks Sabrina!) and it changed my life. Ok, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much!!! Most people (including myself) use this site to rent designer dresses for special occasions, which makes sense, that is the primary purpose of Rent the Runway, after all. And it's a great idea. We ladies love having a new dress to wear to all of our events, but who wants to spend $150+ on a new dress that you're only going to wear once or twice. With RTR, you can wear a new designer dress for ALL of your special occasions!! But, that's not exactly what this post is about - we're talking bridal accessories here and I want to highlight a possibly overlooked purpose for Rent the Runway. RTR doesn't just do dresses, they do accessories too - and even better, they do bridal accessories!!!!
Rent the Runway has TONS of fun brand name bridal accessories to choose from. Clutches, earrings, belts, and even veils are all available for you to rent at a fraction of the retail cost (and yes, they have Kate Spade!). I've gone through their site and picked out some of my favorites shown here. Click on the corresponding links below to find these gorgeous pieces on the RTR website! (You'll notice I rented the Happily Ever After Clutch for my wedding in the picture above!)
Kate Spade Wedding Belles Ravi Clutch | $60 Rental $398 Retail
Kate Spade Wedding Belles Emanuelle Clutch | $50 Rental $328 Retail
Badgley Mischka Always and Forever Belt | $50 Rental $220 Retail
Kate Spade Golden Moment Earrings | $15 Rental $98 Retail
RTR Bridal Accessories Solemn Vow Comb | $25 Rental $175 Retail
Kate Spade Happily Ever After Clutch | $65 Rental $398 Retail
The Price. The obvious benefit to using RTR for your bridal accessories is price. Budgets are tight for weddings and there simply isn't always room for expensive designer pieces. By using RTR, you're getting the high end accessories you want for a fraction of the cost.
You're Only Going to Use it Once. Most of these accessories are one of a kind, unique, wedding day specific pieces that you would only wear on your wedding day. I mean, who wants to spend $400 on a clutch that says "Just Married" or "Mr. and Mrs."? They are the perfect addition for your special day, but after it's over, you don't have much need for them anymore. By using RTR, you'll have your accessories for your wedding weekend and then send them back once it's over!
Perfect for the Bridal Bag. A few weeks ago, I blogged about the bridal bag and it's importance for perfectly styled shots of your jewelry and accessories. Any of these RTR bridal pieces are PERFECT for the bridal bag and they will make for some really adorable, unique pictures.
Besides, you need a cute clutch to carry your phone and lip gloss during the reception, right? This is the one day in your life you can carry that $400 "Just Married" clutch!!
I really love RTR and still use it a bunch! They have great service, always deliver on time, and their pieces are always in great condition. I highly recommend checking them out for your wedding needs. I even used RTR for my bridal shower, bachelorette party, and rehearsal dinner dresses! They have a whole page full of dresses for the bride. Now, go spend hours browsing their site - it's addicting!!!
xoxo, Lyss and Lauren
* I was not paid by Rent the Runway to make any of the statements above. This blog post was written strictly based on my opinions :)
Ok, hands up if your "Dream Wedding" board on Pinterest has over 500 pins. Just about everyone reading this? Yup that's what I thought.
Since we were 5, we have been dreaming of our wedding day, saving ideas in our heads, making lists on our computers. Then, Pinterest was invented and ever since then, us ladies have been obsessively pinning to our wedding boards. Heaven forbid if anything ever got deleted from that board, I mean, we NEED that board, we NEED all those ideas!!
Here in lies the problem with Pinterest, because now, you're finally engaged to the man of your dreams, you finally get to use that "Dream Wedding" board, but it's filled with 500 pins that you've collected (and refused to delete) over the last 5 years!!! Yes, it's gorgeous, but it's also confusing and has no direction. This is real now. You, sweet bride, have to take that "dream wedding" you have in your head and turn it into a reality. And Pinterest makes that HARD. Today, I want to help you change your unhealthy Pinterest ways and show you how to effectively use Pinterest to plan your wedding.
Now, don't worry, you don't need to go delete your wedding board on Pinterest, but I've come up with 3 steps to help you use that overwhelming board to narrow down on a direction and feel for your wedding day.
1. START SMALLER
It is impossible to not feel overwhelmed looking at a board with over 500 pins. Narrowing things down will help a lot! Again, I'm not telling you to delete your original board, but try this: Create a completely new board - start fresh! Revisit your old board and repin things to your new board. Filter out all of those older ideas you don't like as much any more. Hopefully now you'll have a season picked out, so if you're getting married in the summer, get rid of all the fall and winter pins! Try to get this new board down to under 50 pins.
2. NOW, GO EVEN SMALLER
I challenge you to have a final wedding Pinterest board with between 12-15 pins. I know, hard! When I plan a styled shoot, I force myself to stay within these limits. Your final wedding inspiration board should be the same! You don't need to pin every single idea that you want to incorporate in your wedding. Instead, I recommend pinning images that create the overall feeling you want for your wedding day - some of them don't even need to be wedding related! Find similarities in your 50 pin board and aim to collect the images that reflect those things.
Notice this board only has 14 pins (you can't see all of them from this screenshot), yet just by looking at it you can see the overall feel desired for the wedding. It's light and airy - perfect for a beach wedding. The colors are soft blues and neutrals with a few pops of bright colors. There are even pins for guestbook, favor, and place card ideas. 14 pins can say a lot!
3. THE FINAL BOARD
When I'm helping my brides come up with a direction for their wedding day, I let them do those first 2 steps. Then, I step in and use that board of 15 pins to create a final inspiration board in Adobe Illustrator. This is where I really narrow in on the colors, and pull in more specific elements. To further our Beach Inspiration example, I've used the Pinterest board shown in the previous step to create the final inspiration board shown below!
Now, even though we have less pins, we really see a direction in this board. We have a distinct color palette that I've created using the color blocks in the board - a richer pool blue, a light sea foam, and a sandy tan. I've left the pops of color very subtle in the other images, keeping them pastels. There is an emphasis on the blue ombre shown through the wedding dress, cake, and mason jars. We see beach accents like the driftwood and seashells that could be incorporated into many aspects of the wedding. And how fun is the taffy?! Off topic, but I love that as a guest favor! Does this mean the bride needs to have a blue tulle wedding dress? No, absolutely not! In fact, I encourage you not to copy exactly what you find on Pinterest. Instead, think of other ways to incorporate blue ombre, driftwood, and seashells into your decor. This board should be your inspiration, not something to copy from. Having a board like this really gives a direction to the design of the wedding and can be used again and again throughout the planning process to ensure the design remains cohesive.
If you don't know how to create a board like I've shown above, I highly recommend checking out this post from Elle & Company on how to create a clean and cohesive inspiration board.
Having a cohesive inspiration board for your wedding is so beneficial when you're planning and designing details for your big day. I hope these tips helped to convince you to take the time to create a final inspiration board for your wedding like I've shown above. It will really help you narrow in on your color palette and direction, and it will also keep you from feeling too overwhelmed! As always, I love to help, so feel free to leave any questions you have on this topic in the comments below!
P.S. The other day I was brainstorming some ideas for a new blog series. I absolutely love sharing advice for brides, but I want to be able to switch it up some weeks too! Kyle and I bought a townhouse about a year and a half ago, and I'm constantly doing small projects around the house to decorate! So, I'm thinking of starting a "Townhome to Dreamhome" series, maybe have one post each month, to show the progress we are making on our second floor this year! Decor advice, organization advice, etc. I absolutely LOVE interior design and thought it would fun to incorporate the things I've learned so that other brides who may have just bought a house can learn from our home transformations! Thoughts??
I'm not sure when it happened, but at some point in the history of weddings, brides decided that when picking wedding colors, they needed to pick just two. You may not have noticed, but when you ask a bride today, "What are your wedding colors?," she will likely respond with "oh blue and yellow," or "pink and orange," basically, "_____ and ______" - fill in the blank with two colors, you get my point.
But there's a problem with this idea, because 9 times out of 10, the two colors are completely contrasting. This is because they are typically chosen for a specific reason, maybe pink is the bride's favorite color and orange is the groom's favorite color - so naturally, they pick pink and orange. Or maybe you pick the colors of your favorite sports teams, etc. And while I love the idea of choosing colors with a meaning behind them, we need to be careful that we aren't just throwing two random colors together. To avoid this, I like to help my brides develop a "wedding color palette" rather than "wedding colors." Today, I'm showing you an example of how I develop a wedding color palette, as well as explain how having a color palette instead of two wedding colors will make your wedding design much more cohesive.
First, let's start with an example so you can see what I mean. One of my brides (who also happens to be my future sister in law!), is getting married in June of next year. When I first started talking to Stephanie about wedding colors, she told me that they had decided on purple and orange. Stephanie and Mitch love the Ravens and the Orioles, so it wasn't hard to guess where the purple and orange came from! However, I knew that since purple and orange are such bold, contrasting colors, we would need to work on a color palette to make sure they compliment each other well rather than competing with each other. Before their initial consultation, I used Pinterest to come up with some inspiration for a color palette.
I started off by just searching "purple orange wedding." Here's what my search returned.
Notice how bold and competing these colors are together. Also, because they are both the darker version of each color, these photos look more like a fall wedding rather than a summer wedding. I knew this look wouldn't work well for their June date, so I started searching for softer colors similar to purple and orange.
Next I tried "lavender peach wedding." Now look what Pinterest returned.
We're getting somewhere! These colors are much softer and more complimentary. And notice! There aren't just two strong colors sticking out in every picture - we actually see a color palette shining through. Yes, the focus is the lavender and peach, but there are also some greys, whites, greens and pinks as accent colors.
With this prettier group of search results, I started pulling images that I thought incorporated lavender and peach well. Using those images, I then created this inspiration board in Adobe Illustrator.
I love creating cohesive inspiration boards because they really help you narrow in on a color palette. (I actually talked a lot about using Pinterest and creating inspiration boards in this blog post.) From this inspiration board, we see that the primary colors are lavender and peach, but we also have accent colors. I love the neutrals - grey, white, and beige - that offer a clean, light, airy feel. The warm peach and tiny pops of green remind me of summer, and while there is mostly lavender, there are also some pops of a deeper purple in the florals. From this process, we successfully took the initial idea of purple and orange and turned it into a color palette that flows and is appropriate for their venue and summer date.
When picking out your color palette, I suggest picking one or two main colors (complimentary colors, not contrasting colors) and then add 2-3 accent colors. It's good to have some neutrals that can be used for background items and it's important to pick one deeper color that can be used for text or signs so it's easier to read. I recently blogged about an online resource called Violet that provides brides with a free way to create a style guide for their wedding. One of my favorite parts of Violet's online tool is the ability to play around with color palettes. I created the below color palette for our example using their tool!
Notice how we brought a lot of the colors from the inspiration board into this palette. Violet makes it easy to play around with a bunch of colors and once you create your entire style guide (I cover an example of creating a Violet style guide in this post), they provide you with the exact hex values for all of the colors you chose so you can reuse the colors in all of the design aspects of your wedding.
Having a complete color palette instead of just two wedding colors really helps define a cohesive design. I find that having a color palette allows you to have much more diversity when you are designing the details of your wedding. You're not forced to pick either purple or orange when designing a welcome sign, picking out napkins, or selecting invitations. You're instead picking from a variety of colors that you already know work well together. This ability will allow your design to remain cohesive without being overpowering with just two colors.
I hope this post inspires you to come up with your own wedding color palette! Pinterest and Violet are both great tools to use while you are playing around with colors and I highly recommend using them!
P.S. - I'm sad to say it, but I think I may miss my very first Monday post next week. This week is crazy busy with my first big styled shoot on Saturday and then the Ashley Virginia Events workshop on Sunday! I'm so excited and it's going to be SO much fun, but after a busy busy week and jam-packed weekend, I most likely won't have time to prepare a blog post. Be sure to stay tuned on everything that's going on over on Instagram though @lovelybubblyevents! I can't wait to finally share what I've been working on!
Whether you hire a wedding planner for your big day or not, you should most definitely designate a "wedding folder" on your computer to store all of the important documents, schedules, contracts, etc. in one place. A lot of times, brides are so excited to get planning their wedding that they don't take the time necessary at the beginning of their engagement to get organized. They jump right in and let the important files build up in their email inbox over months and months of planning. Then, are left spending hours searching through emails to find that one contract that they need to read 2 weeks before the wedding that was sent over a year ago. Ah! A nightmare!
This nightmare can be avoided if you take time to get yourself organized from the very beginning - before the contracts and documents and decisions start rolling in. But you're a new bride, you've never done this before, so how do you know what you need to do to get organized? That's where today's blog post comes in!
Today, I've come up with a step by step guide to help you build your wedding folder including tips on how to keep it organized throughout your wedding planning process! Let's get organized!
1. MAKE A WEDDING FOLDER
This is the easiest step! Literally create a folder on your desktop called "Our Wedding" - or whatever you want to call it! DO NOT store wedding information in any other place on your computer!! Also, avoid having multiple folders for multiple computers. If you're going to use your work computer and your home computer for wedding planning, I highly recommend using Google Drive to store all of your planning work! That way, you can save files to your Drive and access them from any of your computers (and even your phone!). This makes it so much easier to access files later on. When I book a new LBE bride, the first thing I do is create a new folder for that bride on my Google Drive so we can share documents back and forth :)
2. CREATE SUBFOLDERS
Subfolders will help you organize all of the files you keep within your wedding folder so that things can be easily found. You can have as many subfolders as you like, but here's what I've found works well:
Contacts. Your contracts are super important and you'll need to refer back to them a bunch throughout the planning process, which is why they should have a folder all to themselves. Each time you receive a contract from a vendor, save it in this folder. Then, once you and the vendor have signed the contract, save another copy of the contract with "signed" in the filename. Also make sure all of the contracts have the vendor name (florist, planner, caterer, etc) in the filename. This will make it easier to tell which contract is which when you are searching through them later.
Vendor Documents. You'll get a number of documents from your vendors besides contracts throughout your planning. These could be questionnaires, timelines, package details, proposals, etc. To organize these, I recommend creating a "Vendor Docs" folder and creating a subfolder for each vendor ("Florist," "Caterer," "Rentals," etc.) within it. That way whenever you receive any document from a vendor, you have the perfect place to save it and find it later on! This is much easier than digging through emails!!
Inspiration. Oooo this is the fun one! Yes you have a Pinterest board, but you will also have specific images that you'll want to reference and save so that you can send them in a email or to your bridal party later on. You should definitely save your inspiration board in this folder (I talk about how to make one in this blog post). Additionally, anytime a vendor sends you images, these should all be saved here.
Planning. This is the big important one!!! This folder is for any documents you create that do not come from vendors. These could be address labels, registry cards, rehearsal dinner info, etc. BUT this folder is also for all of your planning info! With my brides, I like to create a planning workbook and put it in this folder. Let's talk about how to create a planning workbook next!
3. MAKE A PLANNING WORKBOOK
The planning workbook is a giant Excel workbook with multiple sheets detailing all of your planning info. If you use Google drive (which I highly recommend!), you can upload your planning workbook to your planning subfolder on your drive and then maintain it and access it from any computer. Each sheet is kind of like a subfolder - each one has a different purpose and stores different information. Here are the sheets I recommend:
Budget Workbook. This sheet should be where you keep track of all of your payments! Have a row for each vendor, and then multiple columns to keep track of all payments to each vendor. I recommend having columns for estimated cost, actual cost, deposit due date, deposit amount, remaining balance due date, and remaining balance amount. Whenever you make a payment, color that payment green so you can keep track of what payments you have left. I also recommend keeping totals at the bottom for total paid and total remaining.
Guest List. While you're coming up with your guest list, type guest's names and addresses in a sheet on your planning workbook! Then, create columns to keep information for each guest - this will turn into your RSVP tracking sheet! You can have columns for RSVP (yes/no), whether they are under 21, their dinner choice, and their assigned table number.
Vendor Information. This sheet is for you to keep track of vendor contact info so it is all in one place and easily accessible. Again, have one row for each vendor and columns for point of contact name, email, phone number, and even their time of arrival on wedding day.
Detail/Decor To-Do List. On this sheet, list each area you'll have decor (guestbook table, card/gift table, cake table, guest tables, etc). Then under each category, list what you'll need. For example, for the guest tables, maybe you need table numbers, favors, and centerpieces made. List those out for each category so you can view what you need to do and check off items as they are completed.
Planning Timeline. This is the big one! You should have a section for each month and then list every item that needs to be accomplished within that month underneath it. This can be (and should be) super detailed! From buying your wedding rings and getting your marriage license, to buying bridesmaid gifts and writing vendor checks. Everythinggggg should be in here! That doesn't mean you need to know every item right away! Add things to each month as your plans evolve. And of course, check things off as you get them accomplished. Separating things down by month (or even week) will make your to-dos less intimidating and more doable.
Day Of Timeline. This sheet should contain the final timeline that you (or your planner) will hand off to all vendors! I recommend splitting the day up into at least 15-30 min increments and then listing exactly what will happen throughout the day. When will hair and makeup stylists arrive? When will florals be delivered? Again, this will evolve as your planning progresses, but make sure you keep up with it as plans are made.
4. STAY UP-TO-DATE
Now that you've got everything set up and organized, you need to make sure to maintain the organization and keep everything up to date as your plans evolve! Your timelines and vendor contact info isn't useful if you don't fill it out or keep it up to date. If you're populating all of these folders and templates you've created as you go, the planning process and the month of your wedding will be so much easier!! Each time you receive an email with a document, save it. Any time you receive a timeline from a vendor, adjust your own timeline to reflect it. When you have a change in vendor contact info, make that change in your sheet. It only takes a minute to do these things as they happen, and it will take a lot of stress off of you!!
I hope this post helps to motivate you to organize your wedding folder before you get too deep into the planning process! Work smarter, not harder, and it will definitely pay off throughout all of your planning! After all, planning your wedding should be FUN not stressful!! Happy wedding organization sweet brides!!
While I was planning my wedding, it never even occurred to me to hire a wedding planner or coordinator. I knew they existed, for sure, but planning my wedding was so exciting to me, I didn’t think I wanted or needed help. I knew exactly what I wanted, I knew what vendors I wanted to work with, and I’m naturally super, Type A organized. I also knew I’d have a venue coordinator the day of my wedding. What could a planner possibly do for me other than cost more money?? Turns out I didn’t realize my mistake until the very weekend of my wedding… Boy was I wrong thinking there was nothing I’d need a planner for. In fact, one of my biggest regrets from my wedding day is that I didn't have a planner.
I want to make it clear that I’m not writing this post as a way to say “EVERYONE should hire a planner because I’m a planner and I want business!”… no. My goal on this blog is to share my experience with you and very simply, offer advice to future brides :)
So, here we go, 5 things that happened to me because I didn’t have a wedding planner…
1. I WAS THE ONLY POC
POC = Point of Contact. You know how every vendor form you fill out has a place for the wedding day POC and phone number? Yeah, that was me on all my forms. And that shouldn’t be the bride!!!! The bride shouldn’t be worried about when hair and makeup is arriving, or where they should be parking, or that they are running late. No!!! The bride should be sipping a mimosa and relaxing with her bridesmaids. So, as a result of me being the POC, I had the florist asking me where the groomsmen were so they could get their boutonnieres, I had the band come up to me during the reception confirming our entrance lineup, and I had hotel staff asking me where the rental vases should go at the end of the night. Was this their fault?? No!! They didn’t have anyone else to ask! I was the only one who knew, but it shouldn’t have been me!
2. I WAS THE ONLY ONE WHO KNEW THE FULL TIMELINE
Throughout the entire day I was SO paranoid that we were going to be running behind. I was constantly checking the time, running through the schedule in my head. Our venue coordinator was only responsible for making sure the reception ran smoothly. So during the time we were getting ready, our first look, and our ride to and from the ceremony venue, I was the one making sure we were on schedule and would get to the reception on time. Talk about stressful!!
3. THE DETAILS WEREN'T DISCUSSED
When you’re a bride, it’s most likely the first time you’ve ever been a bride. You don’t think about the little detailed questions that need to be discussed and answered for the wedding day like, who should your gifts be given to at the end of the night? who is delivering vendor payments? where are the decor rentals going after the reception? Since I didn’t have a planner, I didn’t have anyone asking me these questions and these details weren’t discussed!
4. I GOT ZERO SLEEP THE NIGHT BEFORE
I'm pretty sure it was the night before the wedding while I was staring at the ceiling wide awake when I realized I should have hired a planner. BAM the realization hit me that I was the ONLY one who knew everything that needed to happen the next day. And so, my crazy brain couldn't do anything except for run through the schedule in my head over and over and over...
5. I WAS BURNT OUT AND EXHAUSTED
By the end of my wedding night, I was completely exhausted. I hadn’t slept in over 24 hours, I had an insanely busy day, and my mind was going crazy all day trying to make sure everything ran smoothly. My husband and friends wanted to hang out at the hotel bar after the reception and I just couldn’t do anything anymore. I remember looking at my new husband and saying, “Kyle, I need to go to the room and go to bed as soon as possible.” I was completely burnt out.
For the brides like me who LOVED the planning process, I can’t stress enough how important it is to hire at least a day of coordinator for your wedding day. You cannot be the POC for your wedding, you need to be the bride and only the bride. You need someone there who knows your wedding like the back of their hand just like you do. Don’t spend a year planning a day that you won’t even get to enjoy and don’t let these 5 things happen to you too!